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New Threats To Churches In Cuba
Tuesday, September 20, 2005 By: Juan Paxety
House churches now regulated
Two new laws in Cuba, Directive 43 and Resolution 46, require folks holding church in their own homes to first register and get permission to operate. The Christian Post reports the laws will affect many mainline Protestant churches on the island.
There are approximately 10,000 to 15,000 house churches in Cuba, according to Cuban Protestant pastors. The house churches are usually affiliated with “well-established denominations,” acting as a satellite church for the main congregations. The house churches consist of 30 to 200 members meeting regularly for service.
These Cuban Christians are very concerned because they fear they won't be given the required permission to hold their services. In the past, permission has usually not been granted when it's been applied for. And there are even more restrictions.
Even once a house church receives authorization it will still be subject to a number of restrictions, including the prohibition of any flags or signs on the exterior of the building that would identify it as a house church.
The legislation also states that the government has permission to supervise the church services, and if they find the services breaking the regulations, they have the right to suspend the church for at least 1 year.
The laws also say there cannot be two house churches within two kilometers of one another - meaning the closing of some.